Teamwork is the cornerstone of any successful enterprise. Without it your company is not going to the business equivalent of the Stanley Cup playoffs. So why do only a minority of Canadian business leaders say their company teams are in championship form?

According to a recent study by Ipsos-Reid,

a Toronto-based market research firm, 86 per cent of executives in mid-sized Canadian firms view effective teamwork as very critical to their organization. But only 31 per cent rate their company’s teams as very efficient.

“”The extent of the gap between what executives expect and what they are experiencing was surprising,”” says David Saffran, senior vice-president at Ipsos-Reid.

Building strong teams is hard work. You not only need to give workers a common purpose to rally around, you also have to give them the necessary tools to get the job done right. The Ipsos-Reid study suggests the root cause of the problem may be the latter: only 34 per cent of executives strongly agreed their organization has the software and technology to make teams operate as efficiently as possible.

Saffran says the study shows teams want collaborative technology that allows them to access the same document from multiple points. “”Most teams work from more than one physical location,”” says Saffran. “”E-mail allows for point-to-point collaboration, but that is just not enough when you are dealing with groups of people working on the same project.””

Getting access to valuable information buried inside company databases and servers is another problem area. Only a third of executives strongly agreed their teams have access to the internal information they need to make good, timely decisions.

Do these findings signal a crisis in Canadian business?

No, says Saffran, “”but there is clearly an opportunity to work more effectively.””

True enough, but if companies are going to spend money on collaborative software, and business intelligence tools, they will also have to spend at least as much money on re-engineering business processes and training. And that’s a commitment few may be ready to make in this shaky economy.

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